Skip to content

Toe

“I liked it!” says Alex, as they push out the back exit.

“Everyone liked it, nobody’s saying they didn’t like it,” says Tyler.

“IT WAS A 112-MINUTE STROBE-LIT CINEMATIC ORGASM,” Daniel announces to the parking lot. Behind them, someone whoops.

“Are you getting orgasms confused with epilepsy?” says Phillip.

“Are you not?

“It was really, really a lot of fun,” says Tyler. “Particularly considering that nothing was at stake and the girls didn’t get enough screen time.”

“I just can’t believe they gave Toe’s part to Michael Cera,” says Dylan.

“I’m not Michael Cera!” says Toe. “I’m Michael Cera?”

Phillip

“But when I’m fighting,” says Alex quietly, “it’s like–”

“Don’t say a dance,” groans Phillip.

Alex laughs. “No. It’s like walking on one of those things at the museum, where it lights up and plays a tone where you tread, except each move subtly changes the chord.”

“Seriously?” says Tyler. “I get wireframes and countdown timers, pick a path, hit the targets…”

“What about you, Daniel?” says Phillip.

Daniel smiles. “Pachinko,” he says. “Pachinko forever, and I always win.”

“Toe?”

“Huh?”

“What do you see when you fight?”

Toe blinks. “A bunch of people,” he says, “trying to–like–hit me?”

Phillip

“Do I have to keep pointing out that they are not ninja?” grates Phillip. “Ninja were populist, silent, invisible assassins from Japan. These hapless fucks are from China and they work for a megalomaniac sorcerer.”

“Let me explain the Tobias M. Dagobert Ninja Discrimination Test.” Toe grabs one of the charging mooks and thrusts him toward Phillip. “Did this man attack me with a single-edged sword?”

“…Yes.”

“Is he wearing black?”

“Yes!”

“Most importantly, does the Inverse Ninja Law apply?”

“The what?”

“This test has too many questions,” complains Daniel, and uses a ninja to knock down six other ninjas.

Toe

Toe trips.

“Oh shit,” says Tyler. Daniel and Alex spin around, facing out, searching the trees and buildings.

“What?” says Dylan, helping Toe up. “It looked like you just tripped.”

“You don’t understand,” mumbles Toe, pale and wild.

“We never trip,” says Alex.

“Not since this whole thing started,” says Daniel.

“Are you guys joking?” Phillip looks back and forth between them. “You have to say if you’re joking–” But he watches Alex take up a stance and there’s no power in it. Nothing. He looks like a teenager playing Matrix.

“It’s gone,” Daniel whispers. “The Liquid Kung Fu is gone…”

Tyler

Tyler drops the last of his ninja on the pile and wanders over to where the guys sit, on a ledge.

“Ooh,” says Daniel, as Dylan does something complicated that causes two ninja to kick themselves in the face.

“Yeah, she showed me that yesterday,” says Phillip.

They grow quiet again. Dylan blurs up past the limit of visual tracking, and her own pile grows steadily larger. Daniel passes Tyler a bag of popcorn.

“Nice. Who brought this?” He takes a handful.< "I was thinking, is there ever a reason not to have popcorn?" says Toe. "And I was like, nah."

Phillip

Phillip’s finally got them all eating with chopsticks. Well, almost all.

“So Phil, you’re Taiwanese,” says Toe, filling his mouth with danzi.

“First-generation,” replies Phillip.

“How come”–Toe swallows–“you’re a Chinese Studies major?”

“Well, those aren’t the only classes I take,” he replies. “But yeah, that’s my focus, because Chinese history matters to Taiwan right now. Most Americans try pretty hard to ignore the situation.”

“But Daniel’s Chinese, and he doesn’t even speak the language. Either of them.”

Daniel grins. He’s using a fork. “My family’s Chinese. I’m American, man. The rest of the world can eat fruit and cake.”

Dylan

“The fuck!” explodes Toe.

“Can’t believe a girl beat you to it?” Dylan says, airy.

“It has nothing to–” starts Tyler.

“Faust deserved to die.” She stares them down, willing herself to be hard. “For Alex.”

“Was it hard?” asks Phillip quietly.

So fast, he’s so fast, blade flickering out from his sleeve. But she’s fast too, heel of her hand snaps out to break it with a cheap-toy spang but the short edge is still coming, one chance, one weapon, the broken blade flipping away. She’s fast, has to be, has to catch it–

She shrugs. “He was candy.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.